There’s a great acronym that makes me look smart and wise. It’s WAIT, and stands for Why Am I Talking? What a brilliant question to ask yourself.
You might decide not to speak if your answer is any of the following:
- Gossip Is the “news” you’re sharing about someone else just veiled gossip? Even if it seems positive, talking about people who are not present is risky.
- Emotional Dumping aka Getting it Off My Chest. Do you really need to say what you’re about to say, or are you de-stressing at someone else’s expense? Are you sharing vital information or offering your listener a steaming bag of emotional refuse?
- Showing Off This can be any kind of self-promotion: bragging, power mongering, being right, or one-upping (“that’s interesting but mine was much worse/bigger/better”). It’s fine to want to share successes, but be careful that you’re not trying to dominate a person or conversation.
- Avoidance Endless discussion is a great way to avoid mental, physical, or emotional work.
When you think about why you’re speaking before you speak, your words are more likely to align with your values. Before you speak, ask yourself:
- Is it true?
- Is it kind?
- Is it helpful?
- Is this the right time to say it?